Birgit Tremml-Werner

Following her undergraduate studies in History and Japanese Studies Birgit Tremml-Werner completed her PhD at the University of Vienna in July 2012 (published with Amsterdam University Press in 2015 as Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571-1644. Local Comparisons and Global Connections). Between 2013 and 2015 she held a postdoc research fellowship from the Japanese Society of the Promotion of Science for her project entitled “Intercultural Communication and Foreign Relations in East and Southeast Asian Port Cities” at the University of Tokyo. Since september 2016, Birgit Tremml-Werner works as HERA Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the department of history, University of Zurich.

Her research interests include colonial history, early modern intercultural diplomacy and communication processes, as well as the social history of port cities.

Current research project:

Negotiating hybrid friendship –
Early modern Spanish diplomatic exchange with South East Asian rulers

The aim of the research project is to trace early modern Spanish diplomatic performance and communication processes in South East Asia during roughly the first two centuries of Iberian presence in the East. By examining concrete episodes of Spanish and Asian diplomatic performances the project aims to uncover hybrid elements of language, diplomatic correspondence, treaty making-practices, ceremonial and participating intermediaries, which have been constantly overlooked in previous scholarship. Pragmatism, ad-hoc strategies and purposeful geopolitics characterized negotiating practices and proto-global diplomacy of the Spanish Empire and representatives of South East Asian realms. Against the background of narratives of failure and misunderstanding it has become overly due to revise conventional views by emphasizing comparison and connections in early modern diplomatic cultures. Multi-lingual source criticism and an actor-based approach will shift the focus away from the dichotomy of asymmetrical and equal diplomatic exchange to the micro-level of intercultural communication processes. Analyzing new empirical data with innovative methodological approaches will thereby add to the emerging cultural history of diplomacy and early modern conflict management in transcultural contact zones.


For further information click on the link below:
Birgit Tremml-Werner, Academia Profile